The world of independent watchmaking constantly fascinates us. The brands constantly challenge status quo to create something stunning and extraordinary – beyond what we are usually exposed to by the large conglomerates.
Stepan Sarpaneva is one of such independent watchmakers. The eponymous watchmaker, who launched his brand in 2003, is probably most famous for his signature stylised “moon face” and quirky but contemporary case design.
Over the last few years, the Finnish watchmaker had launched some interesting pieces, including one of our favourites: Korona K0 Northern Lights. Naturally, with a bar that was set pretty high, Sarpaneva requires something that is extraordinary to blow our minds again. Now, does his Baselworld 2019 novelty – the Lunations – make the cut?
Case, Dial, and Hands
The 42mm timepiece is a culmination of Stepan’s horological works for the last 25 years. For those who are into independent watchmaking, one can certainly tell that it is a Sarpaneva at the first glance.
The watch is firstly fitted with Sarpaneva’s signature “Korona” case. It has a unique shape that resembles a bottle cap, with a pair of relatively short lugs. The shorter lugs allows the watch to sit more snugly on the wrists, especially for Asians who has generally have smaller wrist sizes. The shape certainly exudes a contemporary vibe, in which it complements the other elements of the watch as well. This particular model is cased in stainless steel, and it also features some form of engraving that is bespoke for this particular piece.
The dial for this piece is slightly interesting. The watch features a cut-out dial, which further accentuates its theme. It is complemented with a blue and purple chapter ring (again, there are other colour combinations as well), which adds an additional dimension to this incredible-looking timepiece. In addition, the pair of blue “Sarpaneva-styled” hands completes the look of the watch.
The pièce de résistance for the Lunations certainly lies in its moon phase complication. There are not one, but two interesting features to this particular moon phase display.
Accordingly, this is one of the most accurate moon phase that Sarpaneva had produced to date. This moon phase requires only an adjustment once every 14,000 years, which is incredible. There are, in fact, only one or two watches that are more accurate than Sarpaneva’s latest creation (Andreas Strehler’s Sauterelle à Lune Perpétuelle is the only one that comes to mind at this current juncture). In fact, Stefan told us that he actually worked with Andreas for the calculations.
The other interesting thing about the watch is its moon phase aperture. The aperture on the Lunations work differently from any other moon phase watches. For this piece, the aperture is fitted with thousands of optic fibres, and it is laser-machined to create the design of the signature “moon face”. The disc, interestingly, is actually simply a plain white disc – filled with RC Tritec’s Lumicast to provide the luminescence in the dark. The execution here is definitely unusual, but it yields interesting results for sure. The 3 dimensionality of the moon phase display is palpable. And the character of the Sarpaneva face comes through.
The Movement: Moonment
The Lunations is fitted with Sarpaneva’s Moonment, an in-house produced manual-winding movement. The calibre beats at 21,600 bph, and it has a decent power reserve of approximately 60 hours. The only complication for this piece is the incredible moon phase indicator, which we have covered in the section above.
In terms of finishing, the Moonment is decent. It has an industrial feel to it, although it is unlike the more artisanal interpretations like the ones from the likes of Laurent Ferrier or Kari Voutilainen. However, we do feel that this form of finishing does fit the theme of this watch, and we are pretty satisfied with it.
The Sarpaneva Lunations is an incredible timepiece, and it certainly brings a different perspective of watchmaking from the independents’ point of view. The stunning watch is priced at €32,000 (approximately S$48,710) for the base stainless steel model, and the watch is available in different combinations (both case material and chapter ring) as well.
In terms of style, we reckon that one of the closest competitor would be from Sarpaneva itself – in the form of the Korona K0 Northern Lights. We believe that most of the potential clients of the Lunations are probably more interested in its design that the complication itself, and the Korona K0 Northern Lights offers an interesting interpretation on the use of luminescence materials to bring out the contemporary characteristics of the watch. This Sarpaneva is certainly more modestly priced, and it retails at
€14,500 (approximately S$22,205).
For a collector who is fascinated with the moon phase complication, the H. Moser & Cie’s Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept might be an interesting option. Although the accuracy of Moser’s moon phase is not as great as the Sarpaneva’s, but having to adjust the complication once every 1,027 years is by no means an easy feat to achieve as well. The watch retails at CHF35,000 (approximately S$47,255), and it is a compelling alternative for a collector who might be keen to purchase a dressier timepiece instead.
Finally, we have the most accurate moon phase that is produced to date: Andreas Strehler’s Sauterelle à Lune Perpétuelle (and Lune Exact). The watch is able to keep a precision error of only 1 day every 2.045 million years, as it uses a vernier scale to precisely set to the age of the moon to within 3 hours. Prices begin at CHF98,000 (approximately S$132,313).
The Lunations is certainly a remarkable watch – both in terms of its aesthetics and technical prowess. There is an element of fun to this piece, and yet it is able to incorporate an ultra-precise moon phase complication at the same time as well. Talk about having the best of both worlds.